Most people were not expecting the Yankees to recover from their 11-19 start, so it is no surprise that most experts are picking the Angels to win their ALDS matchup, which starts tonight. After all, the Yankees are opening up a postseason series on the road for the first time since 2001 and the lack of home field advantage might tip the balance in a series where both teams are fairly evenly matched.
Not that they play the game the same way, in fact, the Angels and the Yankees approach the game very differently. The Angels rely on good pitching, good defense and a fantastic bullpen to support a lineup with only one legitimate threat. The Yankees use a great lineup and a good back of the bullpen to support a shaky starting rotation. Anaheim will try and run at every opportunity and take the extra base. The Yankees will try to pound the Angels’ pitching early and turn close games over to Tom Gordon and Mariano Rivera.
The Angels won it all in 2002 and have three starters with postseason experience in Colon, Lackey and Washburn. The Yankees will have to rely on Wang and Chacon to make critical starts in their first postseason and have to hope that Mike Mussina’s cranky elbow is ok. In a season where they have proved their doubters wrong at every turn it is dangerous to pick against them, but Gothamist thinks the Yankees fall in five games.